I got this comment on my previous post and I thought I reply to it in a post about the value of
I would like to suggest you that before starting your graphic novel you must make rules for
yourself to follow throughout your book or it will look like a different book at the beginning and
end because you got inspired along the way with some new technique.
Posted by: BAS GRAPHICS
The problem with making rules at the start of a creative endeavor is that it precludes better ideas that come later -- especially in my case. Let's back up to some time before June 11, 1974, my first day at Disney.
I started drawing as far back as I can remember. I recall a specific painting I did at Robert Louis Stevenson Kindergarten of an apple tree and a dimetrodon (which I knew as a "finback dinosaur.") and I knew I was drawing way before that. I was super lucky that my dad worked in the marketing department of Carnation Company and would bring home reams of stationery with whatever promotion had been run previously. That meant the back of the paper was grade A awesome drawing paper so I drew all the time. Or so I thought I did.
Once I started at the Mouse House I drew for eight hours a day. After I passed the training program, I added hours at night because the path of advancement was presenting animated personal tests to the Review Board. (The Board consisted of many of Walt's "Nine Old Men" along with Ken Anderson, Don Griffith and others). You know what happens when you draw that much? You get better.
I shared an office with Ron Clements who pointed out that the artistic growth we were all having is a series of plateaus. Your taste and analysis improve before your talent. When it catches up you have a surge of great work that you're happy with. But then you level off as your critical judgement improves and you continue, frustrated, until the next surge.
Well it made sense to me at the time and Ron went on to be instrumental in building a new Golden Age of Animation.
But the point is, you learn to draw by drawing and the more you draw the better you'll become. Of course, I veered into writing and then producing where I could hire people who already drew much better than me so my skills stagnated.
But I feel I'm drawing much better than I did that last time I tried this story (I'd link to it but it's really bad) but I know I'll be improving as I steadily work on the comic. As I've stated before I'm already taking this into account as I work out the story. Instead of writing a full script starting wtih page one I'm working out the general story then only tying it down as I start the thumbnailing process. As I create relationships between characters or secondary characters take bigger roles, I can weave that into the story earlier without throwing out a ton of work. I don't want to say, "I had better ideas but they didn't fit my outline."
As to art, I'm climbing those plateaus again. So if I spend time up front making model sheets of my characters in the name of staying consistent, I'll basically be putting effort into locking my work into an earlier style. That's how it would be for me anyway. There's tons of great comic artists working today that wouldn't have that problem.
My solution is simple and is done by most artists - I'll pencil the whole thing first. I know I will change the way I draw the characters. The more I draw them, the more natural it will become. I won't be sweating the relationship of the nose and eyes or how to draw a collar on a coat. By the time I get to the end, I won't be thinking of how I want to draw the characters, I'll be concentrating on emotions and storytelling. Then I'll go back to the start and start inking.
This is a personal project for me. My goal is to make the process itself fun and so far it is.